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REPORT: Management of Ecosystems Services of the Forests of Southwest Nigeria in Support of Rural Livelihoods and Food Security

Nigeria’s population is presently above 140 million and most of these people are in the rural areas. Nigerian rural communities are characterised by poverty, hunger, lack of education, disease, lack of basic social amenities and small land holding. The forest ecosystem, by virtue of its location and the services it can supply ‘for free’, is highly depended upon for daily sustenance and livelihood by rural people in particular. However, as important as these services are, quantifying them in terms of quality and quantity in specific localities has not been achieved in Nigeria. The lack of adequate information and many other factors are responsible for the degradation and reckless use of the forest ecosystem. The implications of the abuse are seen in the form of climate change, food insecurity, decrease in agricultural productivity and poverty.

This detailed study, Management of Ecosystems Services of the Forests of Southwest Nigeria in Support of Rural Livelihoods and Food Security, was carried out to assess the present status of the tropical natural ecosystem of southwest Nigeria, their contributions to rural livelihood, the quantity and quality of their services and the level of awareness and impacts of anthropogenic activities on climate change. It was carried out in three of the six states that make up southwest Nigeria. Activities carried out included: socioeconomic study of climate change and adaptation options to rural livelihood activities and food security, phyto-sociological characterization of tropical natural forest for ecosystem services, tree species diversity assessment and assessment of the impact of anthropogenic activities on forest soil properties and carbon pool.

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This project and publication has been produced as part of the START call for research on the theme of ‘Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security’ in Africa, with an emphasis on the sustainability of ecosystem services in Africa. Objectives of this call are to commission high quality, independent, policy-relevant and credible research to support policy making for sustainable development in the region, to build the capacities of regional research partners to conduct high level research and to create a platform for knowledge sharing at the regional level. The funding has been provided by US National Science Foundation, Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and CDKN.

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Research call information: Regional Research Call – Africa

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Image credit Pixtal Fotosearch

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